Copper Extends Losses From Four-Year Low on Weaker Demand Worry

Copper fell for a third day, extending losses from the lowest in more than four years, on speculation demand will weaken as manufacturing slows in China and the U.S., the world’s biggest metals users.

The metal slid as much as 0.6 percent in London after closing on Jan. 2 at the lowest since June 2010. The Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory gauge fell to a six-month low, while China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index declined to the lowest level in 18 months, according to releases last week. Markets around the world from the euro to Asian stocks retreated as concern mounts Greece will exit the currency union.

“We have nothing to be happy with at the beginning of the year as data that came out during the holidays were negative,” said Li Ye, a Shanghai-based analyst at Shenyin & Wanguo Futures Co. Any rebound in prices “would be short-lived.”

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4 percent to $6,230 a metric ton by 3:09 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal dropped 14 percent in 2014, the biggest annual loss in three years.

In New York, copper futures for March declined 0.5 percent to $2.8025 a pound. The March contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 1.6 percent to close at 45,080 yuan ($7,249) a ton. Trading in China resumed today after being closed Jan. 1-2 for a public holiday.

Nickel in London gained as much as 1.8 percent to $15,090 a ton, the biggest intraday increase since Dec. 12. Prices were supported by demand for the refined metal amid supply tightness in China’s physical market, said Celia Wang, an analyst at Beijing Antaike Information Development Co., a nonferrous metals researcher.

On the LME, zinc and lead retreated, while tin and aluminum rose.

— With assistance by Alfred Cang

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